Incorporating Mental Health into your Event

07/02/22

Mental health has never been so important. As we come out of the pandemic, organisations will be eager to gather their workforces together again, but some delegates may feel anxious about attending events again. As an organiser, these fears can be eased by working with your venue to create spaces and events with considerations to mental safety.

“We have always talked about delegate experience being paramount and the need to focus more on their wellbeing is an extension of this,” says Laura Capell-Abra, founder of Stress Matters, an organisation launched in 2017 to improve the wellbeing of the events industry. “As a society, we want to be healthier and make better choices for our minds and bodies, as an industry we can make this part of a really engaging and memorable experience.”

Our environment has a huge impact on our mental health, so it is vitally important that organisers consider this when choosing venues for their events. Working with your venue to create happy, healthy and thoughtful event spaces will encourage delegate wellbeing, give them the reassurance they need and reduce the anxiety that may lead to drop outs.

Look for venues with green spaces and use them. Consider holding an outdoor teambuilding session to encourage delegates to interact; as well as building camaraderie, activities such as these also help to bring some humour to an event and this too will help to ease stress. All of The Venues Collection properties have walking routes so ensure that your delegates know about these options before hand or even plan in some ‘netwalks’ (networking while walking) into your event programme in order to encourage colleagues to mix and mingle whilst they get some exercise in the fresh air. It goes without saying that venues with a swimming pool or a gym will also offer good respite options to delegates – but make sure they know about them in advance so they can arrive with suitable kit.

An out-of-town venue with lots of free parking may also help delegates arrive unflustered and the journey feel less stressful that having to tackle traffic in a busy town and find parking.

Consider having a quiet room available for delegates to simply hang out and recharge. Providing a space, and ensuring that delegates know about it in advance can really help to quash any concerns they may have about returning to face-to-face meetings.

Also consider how your organising team feel about getting back on site. Don’t assume that they feel comfortable, hold a short interview with them to find out how they feel and to discuss any worries they may have.

Communication is key; Keeping your delegates in the loop and aware of all the considerations you are making available is vitally important. It will ensure they feel mentally prepared for the event and ease any anxiety. Encouraging dialogue before the event will help to reassure them and to allay fears, and will mean that you can take individual concerns into account if you are able to. Good communication with your venue team will really help too. Speak to your venue, find out what they already have in place to help calm your worries and those of your delegates. Our venue teams have expert knowledge of our venues and how each space works and they will help you to create mindful meetings.

The Venues Collection are also considering their employees mental health too. By the end of this year all of our venues across the UK will have at least two qualified mental health first aiders, there to support individuals when they need someone to talk to.

“It is great to see how The Venues Collection are taking action to improve the wellbeing of their delegates and their teams,” says Capell-Abra. “These little changes make a big difference to someone’s wellbeing and enjoyment of the experience and are so easy to include in your event design, it’s hard justifying why you wouldn’t do it!”

Creating meetings that are considerate and empathetic with your delegate’s mental wellbeing needs is easy, but it does take some forethought, planning and to partner with a venue that also has these needs in mind. Stress Matters has created a Mental Health Safety at Events Check List that can help you when planning your event. Have a chat with The Venues Collection sales team to see how we can help you to create stress free events: enquiries@thevenuescollection.co.uk